Questions and Answers

Updated: March 2010

What is the shelf life of Victorian House Scones mix?
All Victorian House Scones mixes should keep well for a year. If you anticipate that they will be stored longer, or you live in a very warm or humid climate, you can increase the shelf life by putting the bag of mix into a zip-lock freezer bag, and storing it in the freezer. If you do this, allow the mix to return to room temperature before use.

How big is one scone?
To illustrate the size of a single scone—put your hands in front of you and completely overlap your thumbs. Put the tips of your index fingers together. The enclosed triangle is the size of a single scone. You may, of course, choose to cut your scones into any size or shape you wish—and then adjust your baking time accordingly.

What if I want to make them smaller (or larger)?
Go for it. You can make them any size, shape, etc. that your heart desires. The only two things you need to remember are to keep the 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness, and keep an eye on your baking time the first time you try it. These are very versatile; experiment to your heart’s content.

This makes a lot of scones. Can I freeze the dough?
Yes, absolutely. We have in-depth instructions on our directions page.

Can I make only half the bag?
No, you really can’t. Because each of these bags is hand-packed, it is a “layered” mix—with each ingredient added separately to the bag. You would have to blend the entire bag of mix to ensure that all components are distributed evenly—and then measure out half, and so on. This is why we strongly advise you to make up the entire bag of mix, and freeze the dough as individual ready-to-bake scones. You only dirty the bowl once, and can bake as many or few as needed, when needed. See the detailed directions on our directions page.

Do any of Victorian House Scones mixes contain either nuts or dairy products?
You will be adding both the butter and the buttermilk to the mix, so you have control over the dairy products in your scones. The Butter Brickle mix contains Heath Bits ‘o Brickle, which is made by Hersheys’ foods. It contains almonds, and also carries a warning that it was manufactured in a plant which processes peanuts. If this is a concern, please avoid this flavor.

Can I substitute for butter?
Yes, but understand that you give up taste and lightness every time you substitute. If you do choose to use margarine, use a high quality baking margarine, not a low-fat or low-calorie product. Remember to add the butter or margarine chilled — fresh out of the refrigerator is good.

I don’t have buttermilk. Can I substitute?
Yes, within reason. Powdered buttermilk works well — simply reconstitute following package directions. If you don’t have that either, you can use the old stand-by of vinegar or lemon juice in regular milk. This works best if you have at least 2% milk. Add 1T vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup, than fill to 1 C with milk. Allow this to stand for 5-10 minutes, and then use. If you are making Lemon Poppyseed scones, you will still need to add the lemon juice to the dough. Again, if you are vegan, please see our directions page for suggestions.

I’m vegan—can I still use this mix?
Of course you can—and we have the vegan substitutions up on our directions page (credit to Janis Badareau of Cat-Tea Corner for sharing her secrets with us.

My scones didn’t rise very high. What did I do wrong?
Most likely, you patted your dough out too thin. Scones are essentially a biscuit, and will rise to about double the thickness of the raw dough. Pat your dough out to a thickness of 1/2 - 3/4 inch thickness, and they should rise just fine. If they spread more than rise, it is also an indication of warm room conditions—an easy fix is to chill them while you are waiting for the oven to preheat .

Why should I use parchment paper?
Part of the reason for lining the baking sheet is to help with clean-up. If you sprinkle the top of the scones with sugar or cinnamon sugar, it will end up on the baking sheet, and most likely burn slightly and make clean-up difficult. Parchment paper will prevent this.

My scones are too dark/burned on the bottom. What can I do?
There’s a very slick, easy way to prevent this—double up your cookie sheet!! I’d read about this trick on the internet—and since my oven does tend to scorch the scones when I bake a single tray, it was easy to test this. It works!!! But, it is also worth looking at some of the other reasons you may be seeing scorched scones.

Scorching can be caused by a number of factors. Start by double-checking that your oven temperature is correct. If this is a consistent problem with all baked goods, consider getting an oven thermometer and calibrating your oven. If you use parchment paper, this is a good indicator of oven temperature; if it comes out of the oven “tanned”, the oven is too hot. If you don’t have an oven thermometer—and no time to get one, an easy fix is to simply drop the temperature 25 degrees. The scones will bake just fine, but may take a bit longer.

Since the scone dough has a fairly high butter content, if the dough gets warm while you are waiting to put it in the oven (such as setting it on top the stove while the oven pre-heats), you can cause some melting of the butter, which will then burn while baking. Don’t put the scones onto the cookie sheet or parchment paper until you are ready to place them in the oven.

How do I add fruits to either the Original Recipe or Original Oatmeal scone mixes without crushing the fruit?
I learned this one the hard way. Do NOT add your fruits to the dough in the mixer, but wait until you have patted it out on the board, and have divided it into the 2 balls. At this point, gently knead in whatever additions you wish to make—fresh or frozen fruit, chocolate chips, raisins, whatever. The advantage of doing it this way is that you can make more than one flavor—some chocolate chip and some blueberry, for example. Remember, though “wet” additions such as berries may add an extra minute or two to baking time, while the “dry” additions such as chocolate chips or raisins won’t. You may have to take the chocolate chip scones out of the oven, and let the rest bake an extra minute or two.

I prefer a more intense pumpkin flavor in my Pumpkin Spice scones. What can I do?
The recipe calls for 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, and then enough buttermilk to make 1 cup . You may increase the amount of canned pumpkin to 1/2 cup, and then sufficient buttermilk to 1 cup. You may needed to adjust your baking time slightly, and this will make a slightly denser scone.

This is simply a listing of situations we’ve encountered. Of course you may have a question or problem we’ve not considered or thought of. If you had a problem you can’t explain don’t hesitate to ask the one who makes the mixes, sconelady@victorianhousescones.com; if you’ve found solutions unique to your problem, we’d love to hear all about that too.